Keith

Keith 4

Today is my last day of freedom. In about 12 hours I will rejoin the workforce full-time. I’m a little nervous. I couldn’t have done this without the support of so many people, but mostly I have to send all my gratitude to Keith, who despite my horrible ways, has always been there for me.

Seriously, I can be the devil. But no matter how terribly I behave, Keith encourages me to follow my dreams. I know I’m a free spirit, a trait that is off-putting to so many, but for Keith, somehow, he admires my wild ways.

This weekend, he graced us with his regal presence and I took some photographs of a ginger with a heart of gold. Anyway, I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.

BIG HUGS AND KISSES.

Keith 5

Keith

Keith 2

Keith 3

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Mindful action is key to responsible living

I tried to find a suitable photo for this post, but couldn't. So here I am. Again.

I tried to find a suitable photo for this post, but couldn’t. So here I am. Again.

For every grievance we’ve ever had against those who have wronged us there is always another story. I try to remember this when I think about past conflicts where I feel I’ve been slighted.

As flawed people we do the best with the tools that we have. We’re not perfect, we were raised by imperfect people who are not whole, just as we are not whole.

I’ve maintained for years my annoyance with expectant parents. My argument is that I don’t know one fully functional adult so how can anyone arrogantly believe that they’ll be able to raise one?

Our children, before they enter kindergarten, will learn exclusively from us. They will see how we resolve conflict, what we believe about the world, what religion we follow, our dislikes, our philosophies, and all of this will leave an imprint that they will live with for the rest of their lives.

Being a parent is a serious decision and just because we can do it, doesn’t mean that we should. It requires thought, mindfulness, stability and security. Some of us will arrogantly hold to the notion that we inhabit all of these characteristics, but I doubt any of that to be true.

Couple these imperfections with what’s happening across this planet, and it’s wise to pause when considering building a family.

The battle rages on between Israel and Gaza, ISIS terrorizes Syria and Iraq, Ukraine is being bullied by Russia, North Korea and Iran are arguably developing nuclear weapons, Africa is suffocating in disease and poverty, climate change is changing our landscapes, need I go on? The world is growing increasingly erratic and unstable — in the next 50 years environmental refugees will be a serious global problem, one that was preventable, had it not been for our willful ignorance, greed and selfishness.

These are qualities that we fall back on. To have a family we must not only look to ourselves but to the world around us. We have to see the problems outside of the confines of our own home as our own personal issues, because that’s what they have and will become. How can we positively contribute to a world that we often look at with apathy?

So much of this can be blamed on how we were raised. None of these problems truly existed when we were growing up, but they certainly do now. To be an effective parent we must first free ourselves of a need to be exclusive, to compete and contrast with others. This attitude only serves to hold a space of arrogance.

There are too many global conflicts to consider, but also, our own personal conflicts as well. We get caught up at looking at others with disdain, especially those who we disagree with. We forget, or choose to ignore that they have feelings and insecurities that have been developed by other people in a world that is callously judgmental and unforgiving.

Being alive means being aware that other people exist. They too have fears, hopes, love, all the things that we find important, so do they. If we could be a little more tolerant, even to our enemies, and see them as humans who deserve compassion and kindness, we’d demonstrate to children the foundation of being responsible global citizens.

Thought. Mind. Action. It’s not difficult to achieve. Collectively, it will change the world.

If you’re not losing some friends then you’re not growing up

Quote

Lisa told me about Timothy Goodman, a graphic designer based in New York City who posts thought-provoking quotes on his Instagram.

One that caught my eye recently was about losing friends. Although it’s hard to end friendships it’s vital to our own personal growth.

Maybe somewhere in the future you’ll find each other again, but it’s okay that you might not.

In the last couple of months I’ve been trying to find peace with my decision to end certain friendships that were beyond repair. I’m trying to focus on the good memories that we shared without forgetting the reasons I parted from their company.

I can’t repeat the same cycles if I want to truly grow up.

A rant about gossipy ladies

Look at the pretty moon before you read my tirade. Okay, now go!

Look at the pretty moon before you read my tirade. Okay, now go!

Ladies I implore you, for the love of GOD, please stop talking about the personal lives of other people. I mean, really, why the fuck do you even care about anyone else but yourself?

And while I’m at it, stop telling all of your friends personal, private and intimate details that involve your life partner, especially if you don’t have his or her explicit permission. The size of his penis, his sexual prowess and details about his hygiene are no one’s business – NO ONE’S!

If you’re having marital problems try solving them by actually speaking to the person whom it concerns, meaning, your husband.

We’ve come to think, more than any other decade in observance, that the private lives of our friends and even complete strangers are fair game in conversations.

I’ve witnessed hundreds of women tell me things about their friends and the relationships of their friends that’s left me dumbfounded that anyone could possibly believe that it’s my, or anyone else’s business to know such private information.

Ladies just because your girlfriend has confided in you about relationship problems she’s experiencing does not mean that the relationship is complete shit, or that she wants you to go ahead and blab it to everyone you know. That’s why she’s telling you — her confidant — so shut your fucking mouth!

I get it, you’re insecure. Possibly you’re comparing your relationship with other people’s relationships. Maybe you’re single and trying to justify this choice by highlighting all the ills you think you’ve observed from the myriad of relationships around you. Maybe you’re bored. Or perhaps you’re just a shitty person.

Whatever it is, none of it is cool.

“Oh my God they’re in an open relationship!” WHO CARES? How a couple decides to define their relationship is again no one’s business but their own!

“I think he’s cheating, I’m going to tell on him.” Ummm… NO! When did you decide that this was about you, or that you have all the information, or that somehow, this is your business!?

As you can see this is a blog rant. I’m getting sick and tired of hearing people decide that someone else’s life is their amusement park. Or that it’s their right to make irresponsible and damaging assumptions about someone’s life, or relationship, something that affects no one but the people who it actually concerns — the couple!

I’m over listening to people vilify individuals, or turn others into heroes based on rumour and gossip that they have no problem spreading around like it won’t actually affect the people it targets.

And the worst part is that it doesn’t matter how people reveal information about their private lives. Some try to find a confidant who betrays them, others don’t speak about anything specific, yet they’re still the victim of back talking.

Here is what I suggest: Get a life, or at least try to be happy with your own. As soon as you’re secure in the life that you’ve built for yourself you won’t be so concerned with tearing down the reputations of the people you call friends.

Also, venting is natural. Women, and men, often only speak publicly about their relationships when they’re having problems, which does not by definition mean that their relationship is on the rocks. In addition, your observations of other people and their relationships are just that, flawed observations. The couple may bicker but when they’re home alone, in bed together, they’re possibly the most affectionate and loving people to each other — so back the fuck off.

No I’m not talking completely from personal experience. But as I stood waiting for my coffee early this morning with only three hours of sleep I had to listen to a group of women irresponsibly gossip about a colleague who I’m sure they’ll greet with phony smiles when they see her at the office later.

Instead of gossiping about other people how about you try to inform yourself about all the shit that’s going on around the world right now, or take up a cause and try to positively impact the lives of people who need it.

And for all you early disclosures out there who blab about every minute detail of your private life, and even to those who reveal a little, here is a rule of thumb to follow: If the person you’re confiding in often gossips about her friends, it’s highly possible that she’s doing the same to you. Do not trust that person.

RANT OVER!

A gay date

Selfie

About a week ago I was enjoying a beer on a local Toronto patio. Sitting to my right were two handsome gentleman on a first date. Obviously I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on their conversation mostly because they were loud and never shut up.

A gay date! How novel! I was curious to how this would work itself out as it was clear that one of the men was more interested in the other.

Here’s what went down in chronological order.

1. For 30 minutes they discussed their desire to return home so that they could change into pants. One of the guys admitted that he would most likely just end up going to sleep so the other guy bought a pitcher of beer in hopes of keeping his date… distracted?

2. They discussed their mutual friends including the ones that they both had sex with. The list was quite extensive. They felt the need to discuss the physical characteristics of their former sex partners’ genital regions. I reiterate that these people are their FRIENDS.

3. After that lively discussion they decided to peruse each other’s Facebook and Grindr selfies, critiquing and complimenting the other’s physical appearance when inspiration arose.

4. For another 30 minutes they made a series of sex jokes, indirectly indicating that they were in the mood to have sex with one another after they finished their beers. It was obvious that they were horny.

5. One of the guys admitted that he no longer did drugs to which the other agreed that he too no longer indulged in substance abuse. After discussing this for about five minutes they both confessed that the last time they engaged in drug use was back in July, which if you’re not paying attention, was a month ago, so clearly they haven’t quit.

6. They then discussed how they couldn’t find a decent boyfriend and how they’ve never been involved in a long-term relationship. Instead of being introspective about their bad luck, they began criticizing the shallow, superficial gay guys in Toronto who are only interested in partying and sex. I had to contain myself at this point because I wanted to tap them both on the shoulder and say, “Ummm… pot calling the kettle black!”

7. They finished their beers and left the bar.

I can tell you what they didn’t discuss. I don’t know about you but when I’m interested in someone it’s vitally important that they haven’t had sex with all my friends. It’s also essential that they demonstrate respect for their sex partners’ privacy. Call me old-fashioned!

Also, I kind of like to know a little more about the person, like their political and religious views, what they think about the latest news headlines, where they went to school, how many siblings they have, and so on. I know, I’m insane!

It was certainly entertaining to listen to them talk at length about themselves. Neither actually showed any real interest in the other besides a physical connection. They spent most of their time selfishly discussing their own vapid lives. I don’t think I heard either ask the other anything substantial.

Oh well, at least they ended the evening with sex, possibly. Oh, and perhaps they snorted some cocaine. You know, that thing they claim they don’t do anymore.

Geez, I wonder why they’re both single?

Life.

The rumour mill

Balsam Lake

The worst type of gossip is the kind that attempts to negatively alter people’s opinions and perceptions about a specific individual.

I observe this particular discourse from time to time and it makes me ill. My stomach begins to churn at the manipulation I see occurring. In fairness, allow me to preface this post by confessing that I’ve created gossip like this myself, and I’ve also been the recipient of it.

Talking behind someone’s back and making potentially false assumptions about their character is amoral and a reflection of the gossiper’s character. It’s not that they’re terribly wicked people, but potentially holding a bad personal space at the time.

They’re either insecure, mean, bored or careless. Maybe all of these characteristics apply. I don’t know. What I know for certain is that it’s damaging, not only on the person being gossiped about, but on the person who is doing the gossiping.

I’ve told specific friends in the past that when I open up about aspects of my private life it does not therefore give them permission to speak about these matters to their other friends when I am not present. Especially if they’re intended purpose is to editorialize the confidential information I have provided.

Gossiping and making rumours about a person is dangerous and irresponsible. By engaging in this behaviour we’re blatantly disregarding their feelings, and at times, their dignity and their humanity. It’s not fair, yet our society seems to be obsessed with gossip.

Keep in mind that I believe it’s natural to be curious about the lives of other people, but it should never be in a callous manner. If it is, then we have to look inside ourselves to understand why we harbour such thoughts.

A couple of years ago there was a rumour being spread about me, by a group of friends who I know longer associate with. When I learned about it, though I had suspected that it was occurring, it bread paranoia, especially with how it was revealed to me.

I investigated who was spreading this vicious and irresponsible rumour by asking my friends outright if it was possibly one of them who may have carelessly done such a thing.

One friend, Raquel, looked at me sympathetically, with one hand gently placed on my knee and humourously confessed, “Oh Franco, I have so much more going on in my life than to care about yours. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about you.”

Haha. I loved it. I saw Raquel as a secure, trustworthy person, living her life, not someone else’s. Her comment reminded me of what a vault she is. I remembered a few years later when a mutual friend of ours had separated from her husband how Raquel refused to talk about it, to anyone. Not even me. “Their personal pain is not for me to discuss,” she said. It was such a compassionate thing to say. And the sign of true friendship, of a true friend.

Whenever I hear someone detailing the private lives or even romantic relationships of another person in a negative light, I can’t help but wonder what the storyteller’s insecurities are.

Clearly they’re trying to justify something about themselves that they are insecure about; perhaps it’s their own fractured relationship, or their jealousy at being single, who knows, but it’s always something that has nothing to do with the subject of their gossip.

All it takes before we open our mouths to talk about someone else is a little thought, a little kindness and a little compassion.

Why are these criteria so hard for us to muster?

If you look at the photograph I’ve posted to accompany my post, you’ll understand that there is so much beauty to spend our spare time on.

We should focus on that the next time we feel the need to gossip.

Weekend memories

Lisa

At this point I’ve written extensively about the cottage that I want to puke. What is cottage life without friends to share it with?

Here are some photos from the weekend.

Lisa & Matt

Lisa & Franco

Lisa & Franco 2

Boat

Alex

Alex & Franco

Maude